Creation, Commerce, Conflict, & Conscience: AI’s Disruption on Existing IP Frameworks in the United States and Canada

Mar 2, 2023

Jo-Anne Yau

In the United States and Canada, the legal framework for defining and protecting intellectual property (IP) rights has largely fallen under copyright, trademark, and patent legislation.  Traditionally, the requisite requirement for IP protection was that a human contributed to creating the IP.  However, the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) disrupts the existing IP frameworks.  AI and machine learning systems create original IP by analyzing vast quantities of data.  From there, data sets are combined, forming new IP.  Without a human’s contribution to the final product, the existing IP legal frameworks are inadequate to provide copyright protection to AI-generated creativity, trademark protection to AI-driven brand development, or patent protection to AI-built inventions.  The gaps in legislation thus leaves room for uncertainty and exploitation of the IP.  Without a legal framework, courts lack power to render consistent interpretations in the event of conflict resolution.  The lack of reliable enforcement can thus impact ethical application of IP, since accountability safeguards are non-existent.